The Federal government of Nigeria has warned the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah, that his Christmas message which criticised President Mohammadu Buhari’s sectional practices is capable of triggering unintended consequences in the country.
The government which accused the Catholic Bishop of stoking embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity, said it was unfortunate of him to have used the Christmas period which signifies peace to fan embers of disharmony.
In a statement released by the government on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said although religious leaders have a responsibility to speak truth to power, there should choose their words carefully devoid of anger, in order not to cause disunity and religious disharmony in the country.
Switch Nigeria had earlier reported Bishop Kukah’s Christmas message titled, ‘A Nation in Search of Vindication,’ where the Bishop had accused President Muhammadu Buhari of reducing people from other regions of the country to second class citizens, all in favour of Northern hegemony.
But in a statement which was made available to newsmen by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, the Minister accused Kukah of instigating for a regime change outside the ballot box, adding that it is not only unconstitutional but also an open call to anarchy.
“The Federal Government says it is graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas, which is a season of peace, to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity.
”Calling for a violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government, no matter how disguised such a call is, and casting a particular religion as violent is not what any religious leader should engage in, and certainly not in a season of peace,” he said.
“Instigating regime change outside the ballot box is not only unconstitutional but also an open call to anarchy.”
The minister asked Kukah to refrain from accusing Buhari of nepotism, especially as he has never supported the President, adding that the country can only surmount it’s current challenges if all leaders and indeed Nigerians come together, saying it is not “when some people arrogantly engage in name-calling and finger-pointing.”